Harambee Stars of Kenya captain Victor Wanyama believes his side have the potential to make it to the 2022 World Cup.
The Harambee Stars have never made it to the FIFA World Cup, and are in the same qualifying group as Mali, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The Montreal Impact midfielder insists that Kenya are in a tough qualifying group and has tipped Mali as favorites to make it to the World Cup, but is confident Kenya can also make it to the global showpiece.
“It’s a difficult group and we respect all the teams,” Wanyama said.
“As with any qualifying event, you shouldn’t complain about the quality of your opponents or the group.
“We have strong rivals, but games are decided only on matchdays and out on the pitch, so we have to do our best to get good results and qualify from that group.
“I think Mali are the favourites, but Uganda and Rwanda are very good too. Any of those three could make it.”
“Every player dreams of the World Cup and we’ll do all we can to qualify. We hope things go in our favour and that we reach Qatar 2022.”
The midfielder said he knew Kenya would make it to the Africa Cup od Nations (AFCON) in Egypt in 2019 despite their 15-year absence, because of the great squad they had built.
“We knew that we had a group of players who were capable of achieving big things and qualifying for the continental finals after so long,” Wanyama continued.
“We also knew it was a very important tournament and that we had to be there. Having participated in the most recent edition, we look forward to making the next one too, but next time we’ll go there to compete.”
Next for Kenya will be their AFCON qualifier double header against Comoros in November.
Kenyan President Flags Off Construction Of World Class Sports Complex in Kisumu
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has officially launched the construction of the Sh415 million Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu.
Kenyatta assured the youth his government will come good on their campaign promise to improve sporting infrastructure across the nation.
The President said he is determined to have stadiums built in all the regions to help young talents across the country realize their full potential.
Accompanied by opposition leader Raila Odinga, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Kenyatta further assured that the renovations will be complete in six months.
“I am here with my brother Raila (Odinga) to lay the foundation stone. The contractor has assured me that the venue will be ready in April (next year). So we will come back to open it with a football match involving Gor Mahia and our brothers from Ingoo (AFC Leopards). I am asking Lusaka to go and prepare his team,” said Kenyatta, amid cheers from the crowd.
“It is my wish to see the youth playing internationally for teams like Liverpool and Manchester. We are building these international facilities and you should also work hard to ensure that happens,” said Uhuru.
“We had planned to build this stadium at the Jomo Kenyatta sports ground but were informed the venue is not adequate. So we have shifted the project here. We have talked to your governor and he has agreed to support this project,” he added.
After its completion, the venue will be able to host 30,000 spectators join the Moi Stadium in Kisumu as a ground capable of hosting international and Kenyan Premier League matches.
FKF Re-Appoint Jacob “Ghost” Mulee As Harambee Stars Coach
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has announced that it has re-appointed Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee as Kenya’s national team coach. Mulee who returns after a 10-year absence has been handed a three-year deal and he replaces Francis Kimanzi who parted ways with the team on Tuesday.
The tactician was officially unveiled on Wednesday 21 October and has been charged with the task of leading Kenya’s Harambee Stars back to the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be hosted by Cameroon in 2022 as well as giving a strong shot at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers set to start in June next year.
“He is Kenyan and knows Kenyan football,” newly re-elected FKF President Nick Mwendwa said. “He has been there, done that. He has been to the Africa Cup of Nations before and now he has another chance to be there and use that knowledge to try and do better.”
The 52-year-old Mulee had four previous spells as Harambee Stars coach. The highlight of his career was leading Kenya to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia. He also led them to various CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup triumphs.
Nicknamed “Ghost”, he also coached Tusker FC with whom he won three league titles, as well as Rwanda’s APR and Tanzania’s Young Africans.
“First of all, I want to thank the federation for again having faith that I can steer the team to the Afcon and World Cup,” he said. “We had a very lengthy discussion as to what the ambition of the federation is after the election and after seeing the working conditions are favourable, I said that I can give it a try.
“I know it is a good thing to handle a national team but at the same time a difficult task because we have two tough games coming up against Comoros, they are two very important games for Kenya, however, I believe that with the team that I saw against Zambia, the team that has played the first two qualifiers, there is a big possibility that we have a squad to take us to the Afcon.
“My focus now is on how to deal with Comoros, I know it is a difficult match but I think if we can manage to win the first game at home, then we will be good to go.”
His first task will be to assemble a team for the qualifiers in less than two weeks. Kenya will face Comoros on 11 November in Nairobi before traveling for the return tie four days later in Moroni.
Mulee also believes he can do well in the World Cup qualifiers, with Kenya set to battle Mali as well as neighbors Rwanda and Uganda for a chance to move to the second and final phase of qualification.
Peres Jepchirchir & Jacob Kiplimo Win World Half-Marathon Titles
Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won gold medals at the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships in the Polish seaside city of Gdynia.
27-year-old Jepchirchir earned her second world title in the half-marathon discipline and broke her own women-only world record by 16 seconds in 1:05:18. In a race marred by falls, Jepchirchir kept her cool and her balance to stay clear of the following pack.
The first incident occurred at the 9km mark. Running on the downhill section of the 5440-meter loop towards the water, defending champion Netsanet Gudeta tripped trying to make the sharp left turn to the road along the seafront. The Ethiopian hit her left knee hard and scraped both her hands. Although she bounced up quickly, she had lost valuable time and was five seconds back when the leaders hit the 10-kilometer mark in a blistering 30:47.
Disater struck again at the 18km mark when reigning TCS New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh tangled their legs with both women crashing to the pavement. Yeshaneh, the world record holder with a 1:04:31 personal best, fell hard landing on her right shoulder.
As the three front runners Jepchirchir, Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Germany’s Melat Kejeta made the slight right turn onto the carpeted finish straight built on a platform on the beach, Yehualaw lost traction due to the surface change and slipped. Although she did not fall, her momentum was interrupted just enough for Kejeta to pass her and take the silver medal in 1:05:18, a new European record for an all-women’s race. Yehualaw got the bronze in a personal best 1:05:19.
“I’m feeling good,” said Jepchirchir in her post-race interview. “I thank God for the energy he has given me today. It’s unbelievable; I was not expecting it (a new world record) but God planned for me.”
Jepchirchir will enjoy only a week’s rest after her record-breaking victory as she will immediately begin preparations for the Valencia Marathon on December 6.
“My season is not yet complete,” she said. “I still have Valencia Marathon in December so I’ll prepare for that. I think this win gave me a lot. I’d like to run 2:17 or 2:18 for the marathon.
“This pandemic was difficult and it affected a lot of people. I used this time to train, I didn’t stop my training because I was trying to reach my shape.
“I am so happy with this. It’s a gift to all the Kenyans, to my family. I am going to rest now for one week to recover then I’ll continue training for Valencia,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Kiplimo won his first global title setting a championship and Ugandan record of 58:49. Prior to the meet, he had only run one half-marathon, but it was only a national-class race in Uganda and he had never really been tested at the distance.
50 minutes into the race, Kiplimo began to pull away from Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya who would have to settle for second place. 5,000 and 10,000m world record holder Kenya’s Joshua Cheptegei, who was in third, was passed by Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn and had to settle for fourth at the finish.
Running along the seafront to the finish, Kiplimo maintained his pace and cruised to the finish in 58:49, a new championships record. Kandie crossed second in 58:54 becoming the first man ever to run three sub-59:00 half-marathons in the same year. Third went to Walelegn in 59:08, a personal best.
“After five kilometers I know I was going to win,” an elated Kiplimo said in his post-race interview while wearing a surgical mask. He continued: “It was great to win.”
The team titles went to Ethiopia (women) and Kenya (men), and both individual champions earned $30,000 in prize money. Jepchirchir also earned a $50,000 world record bonus.
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